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An excellent topic that it so much easier to discuss in the Kindle era.  There are 3 historical historians, now 10, that I know about especially relevant to this forum.

Edward Gibbon - The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.  I found his name frequently when reading about current events when I was in highschool.  Orignally in English.  By an Englishman.

Saint Gregory of Tours - A History of the Franks.  Disappointing.  Modern material is better.  Specifically, The Dark Ages and Clovis.  Originally in Latin

Seutonius - The Lives of the Twelve Caesars - this is a historical work as well and I have no idea when it was first published in English.  It dates from the 2nd century.  Originally in Latin

Herodotus - The Histories.  About ancient Greece before the fall of Athens in the Peloponnesian War.  His name is very famous and I've known it since I was a child.  His name appears in the game Civilization and its sequels along with several variations on it partly as a running gag that produces rankings in various metrics for each civilization as the game progresses.  In fact, the running gag depends heavily on how well you do.  If you do really well you'll get a list of civilizations written by Herodotus or say, Bill Clinton.  If you do badly, you get something like Ryu-odotus.   

Originally in ancient Greek

Herodotus does not claim that Etruscans came from Asia Minor.

Thucyides - History of the Peloponnesian War.  Originally in ancient Greek.

Edited by dnewhous

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Would you include Jordanes on your list? He wrote in around 551 AD Getica (De origine actibusque Getarum --The Origin and Deeds of the Getae [Goths]). Although I have not read this, it is supposed to be an excellent source of information on the Goths.







For me, the best and most readable ancient historian is Ammianus Marcellinus:





Edited by guy

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Isn't there an old Roman ethic that historians should stick to res publica or something like that?

Plutarch - Parallel Lives.  First Century.  Greece of late antiquity during the Pax Romana.  The height of the power of the Roman empire.  Plutarch is wiki'd as a biographer (Britannica as well) rather than a historian.  Originally written in Koine Greek.

Dio Cassius - The Roman History: The Reign of Augustus.  Originally written in Latin.

Peter Brown - the World of Late Antiquity.  I didn't know about this one until I wiki'd late antiquity not knowing exactly what it referred to.  He is a modern historian exploring what we call the Dark Ages.  Originally in English.

Eric H Cline - 1177 BC the year civilization collapsed - an exclamation point to the end of Mycenean Greece.  I didn't think we'd ever know exactly when it came to an end, but why not?  That would be the end of what most people consider the ancient world.  Originally in English.

Procopius - The Secret History  The story of Justinian's reign.  Originally in Koine Greek.

Ian Wood - the Merovingian Kings - covers neither Clovis I nor Charlemagne, so it's not that interesting.  It's really missing Merovich, Childeric I, Clovis I, the book as is, Charlemagne, Louis the Pious, and his 3 sons.  That puts the timeline from the namesake of the line through the end of the Carolingian Empire, in 816, as seen by the Catholic church.  Originally in English

Geoffrey of Monmouth - The History of the Kings of Britain - AFAIK this is the original story of king Arthur included.  Written in the 12th century, in Welsh.  It appears he is an Angle?  He is fighting the Saxons in Britain.  There's no Excalibur or anything really exciting.

As an added bonus, I'd like to provide the definition of history from the Encyclopedia Britannica:

History, the discipline that studies the chronological record of events (as affecting a nation or people), based on a critical examination of source materials and usually presenting an explanation of their causes.


Edited by dnewhous
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There are a few other titles that have shown up

The History of Rome - Titus Livius (Early history of Rome)

The Histories - Polybius (Third Macedonian War - with Rome)

Hannibal - Livy (History of the Second Punic War)

The Conquest of Gaul - Julius Caesar 

The -->Histories<-- Annals - Cornelius Tacitus (downfall of Nero)  this can be found under two different titles.   The Oxford version has the author's full name and I'm sure is the right title. 

The Civil Wars - Appian (through Trajan)


Remember, for a book to be legitimate, it has to have an ASIN number, an ISBN number, and maybe a CDRL (US congress) number.  The thing is I have never seen a book that has all 3.  If you want your material properly copyrighted, you should seek all 3.  

ASIN numbers are broader than ISBN.  According to the wikipedia, ASIN numbers are Amazon?  I remember them older than ISBN numbers.

Looking over these books it looks like the Pax Romana wasn't much of a Pax Romana.  It looks like the civil wars didn't end until Hadrian, the 3rd of the 5 good emperors.

I would start with the History of Rome, because the Battle of Orders really shaped the world's socioeconomic structure more than anything since.  What they were missing, and I think is missing from Asian culture, is a class of people who were affluent but not wealthy.  Above middle class without the authority to dispense their own justice.  I suppose in a western sense is what it did was create the upper middle class, which is what the Clinton era gave us.  Weird jokes about teenage girls having trouble finding the keys to the family SUV were indicative of the era.

I do realize one thing Republicans would have hated about Clintonism - attractive girls were seen as a bit hoite toite.  Headbangers didn't like that.  And headbangers have a little more going for them then simply being cool.

There are an absurd number of variations for Plutarch.  What matters is Parallel Lives.  Right title, right author.

Edited by dnewhous

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Here's a summary in time order:

1177 BC - Eric H Cline (2014) This is the bridge between classical and ancient Greece.  There is a controversy over the years of the bronze age v the years of the iron age.  If you say the iron age started in 1500 BC, it's hard to describe Greece before 1177 BC.  If it starts at 1177 BC, there is a clear division.

The Histories Herodotus of the Greco-Persian Wars (this translation first published in 1954) Written in 430 BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek from the Wikipedia.  Britannica calls this one "The History."

History of the Peloponnesian War Thucyides 

The History of Rome - Titus Livius The battle of orders?  Should discuss the beginning of knighthood.

Hannibal - Livy 

The Histories - Polybius (translated 2010) this is the authentic work titled "The Histories" according to Britannica.  Commensurate with the 3rd Macedonian War.

The Conquest of Gaul - Julius Caesar 

The Roman History: The Reign of Augustus Dio Cassius  The birth of Christ is here.

The Annals - Cornelius Tacitus The Oxford version has the original author's full name and I'm sure is the right title. 

The Civil Wars - Appian 

Parallel Lives Plutarch - 

The Lives of the Twelve Caesars Seutonius 

the World of Late Antiquity by Peter Brown (1971)

Alaric the Goth Douglas Boin (2020) 

City of God by Saint Augustine (2012)  This is a historical work and not just a philosophical one

The Dark Ages by Charles Oman (2017) defines the dark ages as the deposition of Romulus Augustus until the reign of Hugh Capet.  The dark ages as a historical phenomenon typically ends with the reign of Charlemagne.

Order of Antrustions by ????? the earliest Merovingians were 

"Pharamund Chlodion Mérovée Childeric Clovis"

of Antrustions, Order. From Pharamund to Clovis: History of a Sacred Bloodline (p. 1). UNKNOWN. Kindle Edition. 

A History of the Franks Saint Gregory of Tours 

Clovis History of the Founder of the Frank Monarchy (2017)

the Merovingian Kings by Ian Wood.  This ends before Charlemagne, and is therefore nowhere near as important as it should be.

The Secret History by Procopius

History of the Britons (2017) originally published ??? (Arthur reference found here first)

The History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth (this translation first published in 1966) c. 1136 original publication

Alfred the Great, (king of Wessex) (1983) originally published ????

Feudalism (???) by wikipedia, publication unknown.

The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Middle Ages. (1989) original edition 1982 by Robert Fossier and Janet Sondheimer

Civilization of the Middle Ages (1993) Norman F Cantor.  Original edition 1963.  I swear this guy wrote for the New Republic and if it were acknowledged it would destroy the Republican party.  I wish that had happened.  Princeton educated.

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Edward Gibbon (1776) - frequently cited by The New Republic

Napolean Bonaparte by The History Hour.  This describes the coronation properly.

That is, 15 separate histories of the Roman empire, each by a different author.

Altogether, 3 books on ancient Greece, 15 on Rome, 6 on France, and 3 on the United Kingdom, and 3 on the middle ages.

Order of Antrustions has little copyright information.

I've put publication dates on the more modern books.

Le Morte D'Arthur, a work of fiction, refers to both The History of the Kings of Britain and a History of the Britons as source material.  

Edited by dnewhous

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